Ray Roberts Lake State Park

Johnson Branch Unit road construction underway through Aug. 28, 2014...

Ray Roberts/Lake Lewisville Greenbelt Corridor Trail Conditions: 

Nature

Sunset over the lake.Ray Roberts Lake State Park sits where three unique ecoregions meet:  Eastern Cross Timbers, Blackland Prairie and Grand Prairie.

Most of the park lies in the Eastern Cross Timbers, a narrow strip of hardwood forest stretching south into prairie ecosystems, with the Blackland Prairie to the east, and the Grand Prairie to the west. The park has land in all three ecoregions.

Because of this, it is a rich and diverse area. More than 300 species of plants grow here. Many animals find food and shelter in the oak woodlands and prairie grasslands of the park.

Geologically, this region is part of the Woodbine formation. This Upper Cretaceous deposit formed about 65 million years ago of mostly sandstone, with some local layers of shale and clay.

Plants

With land in three ecoregions, you will see different plants depending on where you are in the park. One trail might showcase prairie grasses, while another will lead you through woodlands or along wetlands.

Eastern Cross Timbers

Most of the park lies in the Eastern Cross Timbers ecoregion, with dense groves of post oak, blackjack oak, cedar elm and winged elm. Grasses such as big and little bluestem, switchgrass and lovegrass grow in delicate prairie glades throughout the timbered areas. These “pocket prairies” are a signature of the Eastern Cross Timbers, and a testament to its close relationship with the bordering prairies.

A different mix of trees grows in the floodplains:  Elms, pecans, oaks and cottonwoods. Willows and sycamores grow along streams. Various fruit-bearing plants grow underneath these trees. With so many wild nuts and fruits, this area has provided food for animals and people for thousands of years.

Blackland and Grand Prairies

Antelope horns

The mostly clay soils of the prairies support tall to mid-size grasses such as little and big bluestem.

Groups of oak trees grow on higher ground, while moisture loving plants thrive along stream banks.

Wildflowers bloom profusely on the prairies:  prairie verbena, black-eyed Susan, antelope horns, spotted beabalm, meadow pink, and many more.

 

Find more information on the plants of Ray Roberts Lake State Park:

Animals

Greater roadrunner

Many animals roam the Eastern Cross Timbers, especially in the floodplain with its plentiful food sources.

A partial list of the animals that live in or visit the park includes:

Wetlands:  Look for wetland areas in the park. These provide homes for many animals such as turtles and frogs. Migratory birds also rely on the wetlands for food, shelter and nesting areas. Larger animals such as raccoons mine the mud for food.

 

Find more information on the animals of Ray Roberts Lake State Park:


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